A tender, poignant film about that first love which reinvents your whole world. High school graduate Joey is all ready to sign up to the armed forces and escape her small town life. But then she meets the older, wilder, vivacious Rayna and falls head over heels. However, Rayna has more baggage than she lets on and the passionate affair sets off on a bumpy road.

Despite the circumstances, and everyone's vocal concerns, Joey remains hopeful she and Rayna can forge a life together, even if it involves enlisting so she can secure them a future. A refreshingly understated and honest look at female sexuality and relationships.

Deb Shoval, the director and co-writer (with novelist Karolina Waclawiak), does a wonderful job of presenting the beauty and bleakness of life in the ‘Rust Belt' – the now decrepit region that was once the hub of American industry. AWOL is also buoyed by the wonderful performances of its lead pair, Lola Kirke and Breeda Wool. Kirke (charming in Mistress America) and Wool (so fabulous in the TV series UnReal) are brilliant to watch, perfectly bringing out Joey's bravado and brittleness, and Rayna's complexities and fierceness.

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"It's thematically rich, and confidently directed with a clear point of view, set against a backdrop of relevant socioeconomic and cultural issues. A deeply relatable and affecting depiction of the heedless beauty of a first love." – The Playlist

"Holds attention with its strong lead performances, nicely etched support turns, and nuanced portrait of a downwardly mobile ‘heartland' Caucasian America too seldom portrayed in movies given the large chunk of the populace it encompasses." – Variety

"Lola Kirke [delivers] a quietly winning performance that would ensure viewer identification even if her character's challenging first-love plight weren't so universal." – The Hollywood Reporter

"[A] sweet, tentative romance... Shoval and her marvellous leads put across both the intensity of this attraction and the tension it causes." – Flavorwire 

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Classification: Over 15
Runtime: 85 mins
Year: 2016
Director: Deb Shoval
Producer: L.A. Teodosio, Jessica Caldwell, Michel Merkt
Country: USA
Language: English
Cast: Lola Kirke, Breeda Wool, Dale Soules, Ted Welch, Bill Sage, Britne Oldford, Libby George, Charlotte Maltby, Sadie Butler, Hannah Dillon
Company Credits: World Sales: The Film Collaborative
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